Director's Letter

The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created uncertainty and strained our communities, businesses, and workplaces. The research community faces many challenges, including disruptions to studies and training. I want to start by thanking you all for everything you have done to keep yourself and others safe and to support your communities during this pandemic.

Along with our program staff, I have touched base with the center directors and know that you are struggling with unique difficulties. Through these conversations, I have also heard about how you are using your knowledge and expertise to support public health during this pandemic. I learned about efforts related to COVID-19 to improve personal protective equipment, establish testing laboratories, and teach community members about safety measures. I also learned that grant recipients are exploring how the virus SARS-Co-V2 binds to receptors in the body, testing ways to inhibit receptor binding, and developing computational tools to assess COVID-19 risk.

As we are learning more about COVID-19, some preliminary studies have found that environmental exposures, such as air pollution, can exacerbate symptoms. Viruses are part of the mixtures that we are exposed to. It is important to consider the totality of these exposures when we focus on how they affect our health.

This month's feature gives attention to SRP research examining the effects of chemical exposures on the immune system, which may, in turn, affect how we respond to viruses or other environmental threats.

In these unprecedented times, I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.

Bill Suk

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